Light Notes

My daughter the marathon runner

If there’s one milestone that all kids look forward to, it’s the moment they can lay claim to the family car keys.

No longer do they have to listen to their parents say, “You’ve got two good legs. Walk.”

When the clock struck midnight on oldest daughter Traci’s 16th birthday, I braked for what I knew was coming.

“Mom, let’s go! We’ve got to get my driver’s license today.”

Even though I had a feeling some state workers might sleep on the job, I couldn’t imagine any would be ready to greet a teenager that early.

But like thousands of parents before us, ignition happened. We wiped a tear and kissed our car good-bye, knowing we’d only reunite in the driveway when it was out of gas.

“Mom, I need drive over to Robin’s house.”

“You can’t walk? I’d ask incredulously. “She lives next door!”

And so it went year after year, mile after mile. Traci’s tennis shoes lasted forever. Our tires didn’t.

When Traci married, had a passel of kids, she drove even more — shopping, supermarket and soccer games. You would have thought, judging from her teen years, this would be heaven.

That’s why I was shocked the day I got her call.

“Mom, I’m training for my first marathon!” she panted into the phone. “I run for 6 minutes and I walk for one — for 26.2 miles.”

My mind spun. Walk and run 26 miles? What on Earth for?

“Traci, that’s so far!” I said with a worried tone. “It sounds like a distance you should drive!”

There was silence as she fought for breath, her feet pounding the pavement.

“Oh, Mom, that’s not the point. Besides, driving wouldn’t be any fun.”